Last month, PPI-SA partnered with Save the Children South Africa and Children’s Rights Centre for a childhood protection and development workshop. 15 PPI coaches and staff members were trained on the 41 Rights Children hold. We learned that when it comes to childhood protection, it is much more than physical safety.
As coach Sam Linda put it:
“I learned that children are our future and how important it is to protect them physically and emotionally but also to provide for them, for their basic needs and developmentally. If we protect them and help them develop, we’re in essence protecting our future “
Coach Thondekile Nxumalo had this to say:
“I learned that we as coaches must play an active role in our player’s development by being there for them, listening to and encouraging them and always keeping their best interest in mind.”
The Coaches and staff were presented the information on childhood rights & development in the form of a house. The foundation of the house is the key people in the children’s lives such as family, the larger community in which they grow up and “special helpers” (I.e. teachers, coaches etc.). The body of the house consists of the 41 Rights held by every child, broken up into 4 different categories:
- Protection – From abuse: emotional, sexual and physical; Drug use; Safety; Exploitation etc.
- Survival – Food security; health care; standard of living
- Development – Education; Play and recreation; cultural recognition
- Participation – Freedom of association; expression; access to information
On the roof of the house are the documents stating these rights such as the South African Constitution, United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child and more.
Upon first glance it may seem that PeacePlayers International only plays a role within the “Development” bucket portion of the house. However throughout the day we learned that as part of the foundation of these children’s development our role as an organization and as coaches goes much deeper.
One of our coaches stories towards the end of the workshop, demonstrated the importance and realness of this issue in our communities:
“One of my players came to me early on in the year. I could tell it was hard for her, but she told me that she was being abused at home. In our first week of practice I told my players to tell me everything, but I never expected this. After speaking with a representative of my school, and another parent I trust we were able to arrange for my player to move in with her aunt.”
As coaches one of the most frustrating things is to see a child not living up to the potential we see in them. Reasons for this are often numerous and beyond understanding. Sometimes though as our coach did in the above story, simply asking about their lives and listening can have an impact beyond the basketball court. An impact that changes lives.